Friday, October 21, 2016

Bedouin Night in the Arabian Desert

We took a break from the city of Jeddah and headed into the Saudi Arabian desert, where we saw a camel farm before catching dinner and a show at a bedouin camp. There was food, dancing, loud music, and several other activities that you just don't see in the city.


Camel Farm
It's not that surprising to see camels around this area, but you don't really interact with them on a daily basis. We've previously visited a camel farm in Taif that bred racing camels, but I'm not really sure what these beasts are meant to do.

It's also kind of weird to see some camels roaming freely around while other camels remain penned up, but then again, Saudi Arabia is infamous for its unfair segregation and restrictions.


Awwww, a baby camel. 

After maybe 30 minutes at the camel farm, we boarded the buses and head further out into the desert to visit a bedouin camp.

Advertisement

Bedouin Camp
  We pulled up and were greeted by men in local garb waving the Saudi flag.
Then the ATVs came out and buzzed around the sand dunes.
The camp was arranged to show a variety of traditional bedouin customs, from cooking and dining to sports and entertainment. Over all, quite well done.
Then there was that time we gave our 4-year-old a sword longer than she was tall. Of course she tried to swing it around.
Falconry is also popular in the area, and there were several hooded birds sitting on their posts.
Once all the buses had arrived, we received a welcome dance that involved spinning sticks.

There were also some women giving out henna tattoos, so our girls each got one on their hands.



After the tattoo party, we crossed the road to watch a display of falconry.

And got to touch and hold the birds!
One of the more unusual things there was the baby carrier. As the bedouin are nomadic, it made sense that they'd have a durable baby carrier. I believe this one was made from camel hide.

Of all the activities t the camp, our girls enjoyed sledding down the sand dunes the most.
Just after sun down, we gathered for dinner. The food was delicious: shish tauk, white rice, and what is best described as salsa. During our dinner with colleagues, we learned about a place called Wadi Shab in Oman that sounds like our kind of adventure in Oman.


We were also treated to what I guess you might call a singing and dancing performance. The music was painfully loud. One dance involving swinging swords around ended poorly when a local woman caught sword on her dress. The power went out during their performance of the Saudi national anthem, which surprised no one there. It was entertaining, but mostly for unintended reasons.

A view of the Bedouin Camp from a nearby sand dune
At the end of the night, we broke off into different buses based on which compound we needed to go to. Our bus went long way home, as the driver said that he was "not allowed the deviate from the stop order" even though we had to literally drive past our stop (third on the list) to get to the second stop. Our driver was clearly lost after stop number two, and I just listened to Taylor Swift's "Shake it off" on the radio as I mentally traced our route in my mind. When the driver finally stopped and asked us for directions, it was much too late: we could have turned earlier but he wasn't listening to us then. We got home an hour after we should have. In the process of getting off the bus, our backpack dumped its contents onto the bus seats and floor. I ended up losing the envelope with all the tour info, but I had intended to post it here.

Related Posts:

Share:

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Post

Saudi Arabia: So Far, So Good?

We're over two years in to our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It's hard...

Honest Post Reports